D3 hockey falls 10-3 to Michigan State in MCHC Tournament

GVL/Luke Holmes - Scott Schueneman (23) tries to protect the puck from the surrounding defenders. Grand Valley D3 Mens Hockey had a victory over Adrian College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL/Luke Holmes – Scott Schueneman (23) tries to protect the puck from the surrounding defenders. Grand Valley D3 Men’s Hockey had a victory over Adrian College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2016.

Brendan McMahon

The Grand Valley State men’s club hockey team (Division III) fell to the Michigan State Spartans by a score of 10-3 in the first round of the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference Tournament Friday, Feb. 17.

The scoreboard did not tell the whole story Friday night at Edge Ice Center in Holland. While the game became lopsided near the end, the Lakers squandered several opportunities to gain control early in the game.

The Lakers got onto the scoreboard first with a goal by Derek Simon, burying a rebound that came his way just six minutes into the contest.

“That goal was huge for us because not only we got a goal but it was huge for our momentum,” said GVSU forward Scott Schueneman. “They had the momentum up until that point, and our goal shifted it.”

Michigan State responded only four minutes later to tie it up at 1-1. The score remained even for the duration of the first period. Both teams played fast, generating plenty of scoring chances on each end.

“We fell into a little bit of a rut and when they scored their first goal. It set us back quite a bit,” Simon said.

Michigan State began the scoring in the second period with an early goal to make it 2-1. Much of the second period passed with the puck in the Lakers’ defensive zone.

As the second period came winding down, forward Alex Bjork found the back of the net to tie up the game 2-2.

The Lakers took the momentum into the locker room with them at the second intermission. The objective of the third period was to simplify the game and start fast.

“We knew what we had to do to win and we didn’t do it,” Schueneman said. “We broke down defensively and all the penalties definitely didn’t help.”

Michigan State scored three unanswered goals within the first six minutes of the second period, two of which were scored on power plays. Michigan State controlled a three goal lead in the third but with plenty of time on the clock.

“When they got that fourth goal it was like a knife through the heart and we didn’t really respond well after that,” said GVSU goalie Jack Lindsay.

Simon scored his second goal of the night, cutting the deficit to just two goals with over 13 minutes remaining.

“The goal helped a little bit but our backs were still broken, we needed some other guys to step up,” Simon said.

The Lakers took four penalties alone in the third period. Playing short-handed for almost half of the period, the puck almost never escaped the Lakers’ defensive zone.

“It makes it tough to win and tough to compete when you can’t even get out of your own zone,” Schueneman said. “They had a few power play goals and you can’t really bounce back from that just because it kills your momentum and people start doing things on their own and it gets sloppy.”

Shot after shot, Michigan State bombarded Lindsay with 23 shots in the third period alone. Lindsay would make a grand total of 46 saves on the night.

“There was definitely a lot of stress not just on me, but on the team and the penalty killing unit,” Lindsay said. “Having to always be on the ice gasses some guys and myself. Always being in our zone means we’re not scoring goals in their zone.”

Michigan State netted four more goals including one with the Lakers again short-handed. Michigan State would go on to win 10-3.

The Lakers believe the poor performance was a representation of the sloppy week of practice they had leading up to the game.

A few players admitted to not taking this game too seriously because it was only the conference tournament. The Lakers may have overlooked this game thinking about the American Collegiate Hockey Association playoffs, which start Feb. 24.

The Lakers’ ACHA first round game is against—who else—Michigan State. The Lakers are 3-1-1 versus the Spartans this season.

“Way before we think about the game we have to come into practice with a winning attitude,” Simon said. “We have enough talent, we just have to work hard enough and play with a mentality that we’re going to win.”